Traditionally, run-of-river power plants play a central role in power generation in Austria. 100 years ago, run-of-the-river power plants ensured the power supply of grain mills and saw mills. Up to 50% of the current power generation can be covered through run-of-the-river power plants and another 17% are provided by storage power plants. At present, roughly 550 run-of-the-river power plants, many of which are located along the Danube and the Drava, are operated in Austria. In addition, there are another 100 pumped storage power plants for power generation in the Alpine region.
But still, there is a shortage of power in the country. Austria increasingly relies on imports since the expansion of hydroelectric power is slowed down and this leads to distortions on the power exchanges. Moreover, the regulatory and state-induced costs put a strain on the Austrian competitive position causing imbalances on the market: As a result, the costs of 11% of green power for the power consumers exactly equal the value of one quarter of the entire Austrian power generation on the market.